Make It Monday-Mince Pies

225g cold butter , diced
350g plain flour
100g golden caster sugar
280g mincemeat
1 small egg , beaten
icing sugar , to dust

To make the pastry, rub the butter into the flour, then mix in the sugar and a pinch of salt. Combine the pastry into a ball - don't add liquid - and knead it briefly.

The dough will be fairly firm, like shortbread dough. You can use the dough immediately, or chill for later.

Preheat the oven to 200C/gas 6/fan 180C. Line 18 holes of two 12-hole patty tins, by pressing small walnut-sized balls of pastry into each hole. Spoon the mincemeat into the pies.

Take slightly smaller balls of pastry than before and pat them out between your hands to make round lids, big enough to cover the pies. Top the pies with their lids, pressing the edges gently together to seal - you don't need to seal them with milk or egg as they will stick on their own. (The pies may now be frozen for up to 1 month).

Brush the tops of the pies with the beaten egg. Bake for 20 minutes until golden. Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack. To serve, lightly dust with icing sugar. They will keep for 3 to 4 days in an airtight container.

Monty loved making these as he could play for ages with pastry rolling, cutting etc. It literally is grey by the time he finishes with it! (Don't worry I get on with the real ones while he amuses himself with his bit of pastry, I don't serve up his grubby pastry!!)

I also get him to help putting the mincemeat in the pastry and we count as we go, so it's actually teaching him early maths, and the measuring of the ingredients and combining them is early science!! So, it's good for little ones development, they love it and you get to eat yummy stuff at the end of it.

I strongly advise you keep the ones your little ones have lovingly handled seperate though, as much as I love Mo- I DO NOT WANT TO EAT SNOT,BOGEY, DRIBBLE OR ANY OTHER ONE OF HIS 'ADDED INGREDIENTS!'

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